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Tag: NFL

Retired FBI Official Kevin Kendrick: ‘Taking a Knee or Locking Arms During the National Anthem is Their Way of Saying Freedom Isn’t Being Afforded to Everyone’

The writer, a native Detroiter, graduated from Cass Tech and Wayne State University. He was as assistant special FBI agent in charge of the Detroit field office from 1999-2002 and retired in 2006 as head of the Charlotte Division in North Carolina. He recently moved from Michigan to North Carolina.

By Kevin Kendrick

What does freedom mean to you? One dictionary I recently referenced defined it as this: the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint. Of course, inherent in the definition of freedom is the right to interpret the word yourself. Attendant with that however, is the understanding that your definition and my definition may be different. And that’s o.k.

When I look at incarceration rates for young black men in my country I am appalled. Sentencing data helps to inform me that disparate treatment is still occurring.


Kevin Kendrick: “Segregation and separation were a part of my life.” (LinkedIn photo)

This is part of the reason why we see people challenging the status quo of criminal justice in our country now in the way that they do. Taking a knee or locking arms during the National Anthem is their way of saying freedom isn’t being afforded to everyone on an equal footing in America.

It may not be your way of expressing and it isn’t my way. I prefer to use the very valuable lessons history has shared with us to show how illusory freedom can be, how very different it can be for all of us.  But the very word, freedom, affords them the opportunity to do that.

Isn’t that what ultimately, this is about?

Freedom Looks Different

Freedom does in fact, look different to different people. As an African-American, I am never too far removed from the reality that my freedom is something that’s very different from that of white Americans.

My freedom wasn’t actually realized until December 6, 1865 when the 13th Amendment to the Constitution was ratified. It wouldn’t be until 1868 when the 14th Amendment to the Constitution, guaranteeing equal protection under the laws among other things, would be ratified. And in 1869, a new Amendment, the 15th, guaranteed all American citizens the right to vote. By all appearances, blacks in America would have equality . . . freedom.

Unfortunately, those appearances were exactly that. Reconstruction in the South came to an abrupt end through a seemingly never-ending succession of laws passed by various states aimed at restricting the rights of blacks, the “Jim Crow” laws as they were known, succeeded in making freedom elusive for most people of color.

Lynchings were carried out on a frequent basis and became almost carnival-like with large crowds gathering and hawkers present. Post cards of lynchings including photos of people who were literally gutted and burned alive were popular and often used to show friends and relatives in other places what might lie in store for blacks who dared to violate any of these Jim Crow norms.

Freedom for my ancestors at that point meant simply existing to the next day and trying mightily not to offend anyone. Voting was certainly something most blacks in the South couldn’t do because of contrived poll tests. Segregation became the law of the land, including the North, after Plessy v. Ferguson and black freedom meant knowing your place…and staying in it.

Segregation and separation were a part of my life from the very beginning. I was born in a hospital designated for blacks because in 1956; my mother wasn’t welcomed in hospitals for whites.

Read more »

FBI Returns Tom Brady’s Stolen Super Bowl Jerseys

Tom Brady, via Wikipedia

Tom Brady, via Wikipedia

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Tom Brady’s stolen Super Bowl jerseys have been returned to the New England Patriots after the FBI helped recover the items from another country.

The Patriots quarterback was wearing one of the jerseys while leading the team to a comeback victory against the Atlanta Falcons during the Feb. 5 Super Bowl. The other stolen jersey was worn by Brady when the team won the 49th Super Bowl two years ago, NBC News reports.

“We know how much this means to the Patriots and football fans everywhere, and we are honored to be able to bring these jerseys back” to Foxborough, Massachusetts, where the Patriots call home, the FBI said in a statement.

The jerseys were found “in the possession of a credentialed member of the international media,” the National Football League said Monday.

The FBI joined the case because Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo said “you don’t come to Texas and embarrass us on our home turf.”

No charges have been filed yet, and the identify of the suspect remains a secret.

“It is another example of the importance of teamwork and what can be accomplished when everyone works together,” team owner Robert Kraft said in a statement. “We appreciate the effort of everyone involved and look forward to returning these jerseys to Tom when he gets back to New England.

Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association ‘Astounded’ That NFL Has Rejected Decal to Commemorate Dallas Cop Killings

dallas-cowboys

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association issued a statement Monday saying it was “astounded” that the National Football League has rejected its request that the Dallas Cowboys football team wear commemorative decals on helmets to honor the five Dallas police officers killed by a sniper in July.

The Association says that the NFL denied the request because of a policy regarding uniform regulations. Dallas Cowboy executive vice president Stephen Jones told Sports Day that he respects the NFL’s decision.

“Everyone has to be uniform with the league and the other 31 teams,” Jones said.

The associations’ national President Nathan Catura is asking the NFL to reconsider.

In a statement, Catura said:

“When the Dallas Cowboys opened their training camp by walking arm-in-arm with members of the slain Dallas police officers’ families, FLEOA’s membership was overwhelmed with pride.

“We did not think we could be more grateful for this outpouring of appreciation for our men and women in uniform until we learned that the Cowboys wished to further commemorate the sacrifice of the five Dallas police heroes by displaying an “Arm in Arm” decal on the helmets of ‘America’s Team.’

“However, we were astounded to find that the NFL denied permission for this important gesture. In the past, the NFL has allowed exceptions to their strict uniform rules to bring attention to breast cancer prevention and national memorials.

“The Dallas Cowboys represent both a community that these officers sacrificed to serve and a team they loved, and for that reason this humble request deserves the approval of the NFL.  Our members and the hundreds of thousands of law enforcement officers across the country are calling on you, Commissioner Goodell, to do the right thing.”

 

NFL, FBI Leaders Identify ‘No Credible Threats’ to Super Bowl 50 on Sunday

super bowl 50By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI and NFL security leaders said they’ve identified “no credible threat” to Super Bowl 50 – so far, the Associated Press reports. 

Security will continued to examine the perimeter of Levi’s Stadium to assess any terrorism risks.

Jeffrey Miller, NFL senior vice president of security, expressed satisfaction with the joint effort between local, state and federal law enforcement agencies to address any issues that arise.

“It gives the NFL a great deal of confidence in the safety of our premiere event, our teams and our fans,” Miller said at a news conference Wednesday. “I can speak for Commissioner (Roger) Goodell in saying that we are deeply appreciative of the leadership, resources and attention to detail put forth by our public safety partners.”

Officials said the lessons from recent attacks in Paris and San Bernardino have been helpful.

“Every year is different. The world situation, the threat picture is different every February,” said Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson. “We are, with the NFL, with our federal partners, and state and local law enforcement, focused on layered security, seen and unseen. We learned from events of the past but we have to protect against events of the future. So, we try to anticipate things that can happen from multiple different directions. But we’re always informed by recent events and what we see in the world situation.”

Former ATF Director Calls New NFL Job ‘a Dream Come True’

US Attorney B. Todd Jones

Todd Jones

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Former ATF Director B. Todd Jones has been tapped as special counsel for conduct for the National Football League, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports. 

After overseeing investigations into mass shootings and the Boston Marathon shooting, the retired director will have a much more fun assignment.

“For a lifelong football fan, it’s a dream come true,” Jone said, quipping: “When I watch football on Sunday now, and my wife says, ‘What are you doing?’ I say I am working.”

The NFL approached Jones as the league was battling criticism for its handling of off-the-field conduct by football players.

“There was a recognition that they needed someone with the experiences I had, my familiarity with the criminal justice system, someone who had done internal investigations in the private sector, who could help expand the code of conduct, which was on paper but not reflected in how the clubs operate,” Jones said.

Jones is a big Vikings fan, but he said he’ll have to keep that in check.

DEA Investigations NFL Football Teams over Allegations of Mishandling RX Drugs

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The DEA is investigating claims that NFL teams have mishandled prescription drugs.

Boston.com reports that agents showed up unannounced Sunday to examine the medical staffs of three away teams – San Francisco 49ers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Seattle Seahawks.

The extent of the investigation remains a mystery, and no arrests were made Sunday.

‘‘DEA agents are currently interviewing NFL team doctors in several locations as part of an ongoing investigation into potential violations of the (Controlled Substances Act),’’ Payne said.

The investigation involves questions about NFL teams’ compliance with federal law when it comes to controlled substances. No teams were specifically targeted.

‘‘Our teams cooperated with the DEA today and we have no information to indicate that irregularities were found,’’ NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said in an email.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York is heading up the probe.

The investigation follows complaints from former NFL players who allege violations of federal drug laws.

 

 

Alabama Federal Judge Charged With Striking His Wife Faces Pressure to Resign

U.S. District Judge Mark E. Fuller

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The public’s zero tolerance for NFL football players involved in physical abuse seems to have spilled over into the judiciary where U.S. District Judge Mark E. Fuller of Alabama was charged with striking his wife in a luxury hotel in Atlanta last month.

The New York Times reports that the judge is facing pressure to resign from a job that is a life-time appointment. He was appointed by President George W. Bush, and has often been the target of criticism from Democrats.

But the Times reports that pressure has come from both Republican and Democratic politicians for Fuller to step down .

The Times writes:

Representative Terri Sewell, the sole Democrat representing Alabama in Congress, drew a direct connection between Judge Fuller’s future and the current storm over domestic violence in the N.F.L. “If an N.F.L. player can lose his job because of domestic violence,” she said in a statement, “then a federal judge should definitely not be allowed to keep his lifetime appointment to the federal bench.”

NFL Takes Risks by Hiring Former FBI Director Mueller to Investigate Ray Rice Controversy

Director Mueller testifying on the Hill/fbi file photo

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Hiring former FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III to investigate the NFL’s handling of running back Ray Rice has its dangers, the New York Times reports.

The NFL, which said Mueller would be given “the full cooperation of N.F.L. personnel and access to all N.F.L. records,” chose one of the best investigators to look into the matter.

“His reputation is really on the line,” said John M. Dowd, who was hired by Major League Baseball to investigate several matters. “If it comes out too light, it won’t look good. At the end of the day, what’s most important to him is his reputation, which means more to him than money. I can’t believe he’ll want to pull his punches.”

To avoid a conflict, Mueller will report to John Mara, the owner of the New York Giants, and Art Rooney II of the Pittsburgh Steelers, who are lawyers.

“Our role is not to conduct or direct the investigation but to support Mr. Mueller and assist him in gaining whatever access or resources he needs,” Mara and Rooney said in a statement. “Our sole motive here is to get the truth and then share Mr. Mueller’s findings with the public.”

Mueller’s investigation has the power to damage the league because the probe is examining the behavior of those at NFL headquarters.

“He will have a lot of power to remind people about these promises,” Bromwich said. “These investigations can be a little tricky, but in many ways they are even more difficult if they take place behind a curtain rather than in the public eye.”